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Minor Charged with Drug Possession

At about 6:30 p.m., a 15 year old boy violated the criminal law. The boy was in unlawful barbiturates possession that can only be obtained by a doctor’s prescription. The boy, prior to his arrest, has been observed by the witness being approached by another youth who placed a dollar bill upon a mail box and in return received something from the boy. The object is being taken from the boy’s right pants pocket where the two bottles of barbiturates was found (drug possession).

There was only one witness who testified at the fact finding trial. The police officer testified that at that day from a distance of about 30 feet, he observed the boy approach a youth at a mail box on a public street in daylight, take a bill of currency placed on top of the mail box, pass an unseen object in his closed hand to the youth and then he followed the boy as he shuffled unsteadily, evidently intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, for about two blocks until he turned through the doorway of a grocery store. The police officer thereupon spoke to the boy in the store. He observed that the shuffling boy appeared to be dazed or drugged, with half-closed eyes. The police officers ask the boy to identify himself and requested to be search. The boy cooperated without objection. Upon tapping his clothes in the well-known manner, the police officer noticed hard objects in the boy’s pocket. He then asked the boy to empty his pockets. Still cooperating without objection, the boy produced two unlabeled brown bottles containing dozens of pills and nine one dollar bills. The boy confessed on the spot, as the police officer testified, that the many white pills were barbiturates and he had sold the pills. He stated that he could not remember or did not know the name of the man from whom he had obtained the pills, a strange man in a park. Quite importantly, the boy further admitted that he had been himself taking those pills for about one and one-half months and his obvious doped condition was the result of it. The pills were now in evidence.

The court was tempted to defer the proceeding, after which no chemical analysis was yet available for the purpose of obtaining the analysis from the police department laboratory. In addition, because of the failure to analyze the pills received in evidence as found in the possession of the boy, there are lengthy observations and findings which the court required to make. The opinion of the court may shed on the juvenile drug crime problem and simplify the evidence and procedures in similar cases.

Consequently, the law guardian advised the boy of his right to remain silent as there were no other witnesses available for the trial. While only one witness testified, his testimony and the many pills received in evidence meet all of the legal standards for a fact finding on a hold of the evidence that the boy did the act or acts alleged in the petition.

Based on records, barbiturates possession is prohibited as a violation of the penal law. Further, barbiturates possession, sale, exchange or giving away of barbiturate drugs or preparations by other than registered manufacturers, manufacturer’s depots, wholesalers, pharmacists, practitioners of medicine, dentistry, podiatry or veterinary medicine and the possession by other than persons who obtain barbiturates on the prescription of a duly licensed practitioner, provided such barbiturates are in the pharmacists’ original or renewed prescription container or practitioner’s dispensing container which containers shall bear a label meeting all the label requirements of the laws relating to the labeling of barbiturates, shall constitute a violation of the penal law.

Moreover, the term drugs was defined as intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals. It is also intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.

The highly sedative effect of the pills on the boy, in the form of his dazed condition, was proved by the eyewitness testimony coupled with the boy’s admission. The court then found that the drugs affects the functions of the boy’s body were the same as specified above in the meaning of the term drugs.

Consequently, the issue is not necessarily what kind of barbituric acid constituted the barbiturates involved, although the proof supported the allegations is already modified. The ultimate fact is whether the boy was unlawfully in possession of, selling, and/or distributing a drug within the meaning of the regulation. The violation of the city health code and the penal law cited was sufficiently proved but since the judicial notice taken was without advance notice to the boy some of the facts noticed are not unquestionable. The boy by the law guardian is advised again, as he was advised at the hearing, that a motion to reopen the fact finding trial will be granted if the boy’s proof is ready at the next hearing scheduled.

Based on records, the regulation of the city health code indicates no person shall sell or offer for sale any drug or device from door to door, or in any public street, highway or park. Moreover, no person shall distribute free of charge or throw away any drug or device in any public street, highway, park or other public place, or from door to door, or by leaving it upon private premises. The subsection shall not apply to the distribution of sample drugs or devices by manufacturers or wholesale dealers to practitioners or to the drug trade. Such samples, however, in addition to other labeling required pursuant with the article shall clearly bear on the label the words of sample and not for sale. No person shall sell or offer for sale any such sample.

At the next dispositional proceeding, there will be further evidence in the form of probation and medical reports of the 15 years old boy’s condition, as well as evidence of the barbiturates manufacturer’s warnings as to dangers to susceptible persons, particularly psychoneurotics, addicts, or alcoholics, dangers of side effects, cases of dependence and withdrawal reactions, and dangers of lethal effect similar to barbiturate poisoning due to gross over dosage.

Consequently, in view of the erroneous description of the pill in the petition as a barbiturate, the petition is modified to describe the pill as a non-barbiturate drug, with the same leave to the boy to counter by any defense evidence that is relevant and competent in a reopened trial, if the he so desires and if he is surprised by the said modifications.

At the end of the trial, the court denied the motion to suppress the pills and other evidence found on the 15 years old boy by the petitioning peace officer. The motion was made on the ground that there was an illegal arrest and therefore an unreasonable search and seizure.

The court denied the motion for the reason that the police officer does not have the superior status of a peace officer who is also a police officer who can lawfully arrest and consequently frisk or otherwise search, and seize, objects from the person of arrested persons.

Parents nowadays are more cautious about the lifestyle and the activity of their children but there are still chances that even how careful they are, young individuals still engaged with crimes or drug related problems. If your child has the same dilemma or has been charged with theft, assault of possession of a weapon and you want to provide for his actions, the Bronx Criminal Lawyer can be your child’s legal representative. However, if you need assistance from Bronx Drug Attorney, you can immediately reach them at Stephen Bilkis and Associates office.

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